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April 21, 2010

Brian Davis


MARK WILLIAMS: Brian Davis, thank you for joining us at the Zurich Classic in New Orleans in the interview room. We appreciate your time coming in. This is your fifth trip to the Zurich tournament. Two top 20's last year, tied for 19th. Obviously, four rounds in the 60's last week, and being defeated by Jim Furyk in the playoff. Pretty unusual circumstances. You've obviously received a lot of feedback from that. If you could just talk us through some of the things that have happened in the last few days? And you know the situation that happened on Sunday?
BRIAN DAVIS: Yeah, obviously, I wanted to finish the tournament, and the drive home to Florida obviously gives you time to reflect. Obviously, the first initial thought is disappointment. I had a chance to win a golf tournament, and I took a hole, which was very pleasing what I did on the 72nd hole. And it's also disappointing that you didn't win.
But within half an hour of leaving, my agent called me and just emails started flooding in from people. You know, not necessarily golf fans. Just ordinary people heard what had happened, and just wanted to say congratulations and thanks for being honest and following the spirit of the game.
Just basically the emails kept coming like that. And before you know it, it was my dejection, but my disappointment. But a lot of positives.
It's probably the first time in my career, or any golfer's, that sort of finished second and lost in the playoff was actually driving home more positive than when they left (smiling). So it was a weird experience.
The last two days have been humbling. I've received a lot of messages from school teachers, to parents, to children, to all sorts the to the websites. It's been a very nice couple of days to be honest.
Obviously today I was back out on the golf course playing in the Pro-Am and playing with the guys. A lot of fun. Back to the normal routine. But, overall, despite what happened, I think it's been a very good experience for me.

Q. Are you taken aback by all of the fuss for doing something that comes naturally to a professional golfer? That is being honest, policing yourself, doing the right thing? Are you taken aback by all of the fuss?
BRIAN DAVIS: A little bit. You know, I kept getting text messages from my friends making fun of me and making light of the situation, you know, because I've got a pretty good sense of humor with my friends. I see the funny side of things.
But I am taken aback. I'm taken back by not necessarily golf people that watch it, just people that heard about it, you know, then watched it on the news or whatever. That's probably what took me back the most, and they took me time to send me emails.
Obviously, even my agent in the UK was overwhelmed by what was coming in. And you know, it's been a weird experience. Obviously I won a couple of times. I won in Q-school over here, and all of a sudden it just sort of blew up Monday and Tuesday. Before you knew what was happening, just every phone call -- the phone would go off every five minutes and somebody wanted to talk about it.
I think it's been a good experience for me, and it's been great for the game of golf that we do call rules infractions on ourselves. It's just part of the game.

Q. What do you think by what you've done and others in your profession have done? What do you think that you've taught just the average person from what you did?
BRIAN DAVIS: Yeah, it's one of those things where you know time it's all going on, you're not thinking about that obviously. It's the last thing from your mind. The adrenaline's pumping, and you're trying to win a golf tournament.
Now I sit back and reflect most of the emails are parents saying I'm using you as an example to my kids about doing the right thing.
It comes back to one of those things. When I was younger, school system is very different in the UK. I left school when I was 15, and I started playing hours of golf. And what my parents liked about that was obviously I was mixing with good people at the golf club.
So even though I might not have been doing extra school work, I wanted to be a golf pro. That was my thing. I always got to mix with good people. So my parents were happy about that when I was younger.
I think golf is special. You know, I, as I said before, I got lots of emails. The biggest phone calls and emails were from Senior Tour players, which kind of shocked me just to say well done, you know, and obviously in keeping with the game with respect, above what happened, obviously what happened to my performance in the golf tournament.

Q. You lost a lot by the right decision?
BRIAN DAVIS: That's not the first time or the last (smiling).

Q. Have you lost additional -- have you lost other times too?
BRIAN DAVIS: There is always a time when you hole a putt in the last green, if you're not going to win, there's been times.

Q. But when it comes to doing it this way?
BRIAN DAVIS: I don't look at the money side. What I look at is, obviously, I haven't lost, you know, because I've gotten into a playoff. What I look at is I wanted that spot in the Masters. I wanted this spot in the tournament to start the season for the winners. That's what I want.
And my next goal was to try to get one of those spots, because at the end of the day, we all want to be playing in the majors and playing against the best players, and that's what I ask.
For me, that's my goal. That is the number one prize, not only to win the Verizon Heritage, but then to get the invitations through that to other tournaments.

Q. A consolation from this decision that you made, the right decision, and I repeat that because, obviously, you're following the way your profession is set. But is there a consolation that you sent out a message that you can do the right thing?
BRIAN DAVIS: You know, I never saw the situation becoming that. It's become that. So I've just sort of had to deal with that, but it's all a positive. It's all a positive for the game of golf, and that's fine with me.

Q. Do you think you'll have any problems putting last week behind you and focusing on playing here and possibly winning this tournament?
BRIAN DAVIS: Yeah, obviously, the last couple of days have been busy at home. Trying to spend time with the kids as well, it's been a bit tough. But it's one of those things where it's nothing but a positive for me.
I came to the 72nd hole needing a birdie. I hit one of the best 6-irons of my life and made the putt. And, for me, that was the ultimate.
Obviously, yeah, I work in the playoff and pull in just a little bit and made bogey, but let it up with the circumstances. But, overall, I take my hat off to myself. I'm pretty critical of myself most of the time. But I'll take my hat off to myself the way I've logged in the 72nd hole to get into the playoffs.
That for me says a lot. It's been a slow year. Having a rough year. I haven't played horrendous, but I've been making cuts and not doing anything. So it's been a slow year so far. So to find myself in contention going against one of the best players in the world and going toe-to-toe, that's more important for me to prove that I can be up there, and that's what we play for.
MARK WILLIAMS: You arrived here last night or early this morning?
BRIAN DAVIS: Last night.
MARK WILLIAMS: What sort of reception have you had from your peers? You said you had a lot of golf players call you or email but what sort of reception have you had today?
BRIAN DAVIS: Yeah, it's been great. Some guys have made fun of me. Some are pranksters out there. It's got to be kept light-hearted, you know. You can't be too serious about things.
Congratulations, for one. I've gotten more congratulations this week than when I've won before. It's a weird feeling as I've said before.
But it's one of those things where guys are happy. That we do the right thing and all the guys appreciate that. Because as you said before, when we do play, we just play by the rules. We don't even think about it. It's not something you consciously think about. It just happens.

Q. Did you know right away that you had hit the reed or whatever?
BRIAN DAVIS: Yeah, that was the weird part about it. Obviously, Slugger said, "Remember not to touch anything." Yeah, okay, all right, Dad.
You're going down in there. But myself and my caddie looked at it, and the little reed that was hanging out the bunch, it was probably a foot behind the ball. We looked at it. Didn't think it was a problem. Because anyone that plays golf, I'm on a very heavy sandy lie, and I've got to dig down for it, which means I've got to pick the club up. So we didn't think it would be an issue.
We discussed about dropping it on top out of the hazard and taking two clubs and trying to chip it in for the four. But again then I'd be faced if I don't get a great lie when I drop it, it's going to be really hard to chip it in.
So we took the gamble. If I can get to this 15, 30 feet I've got a great chance to make it. And Jim's still got a 6-footer left, so there's no certainty he's going to win. And if I was to make it, I'd put massive pressure on him.
So we decided to have a go. It was one of those things, the adrenaline's pumping. I take it back, and I don't feel anything. That was the point about it. When I hit the shot, I didn't feel contact. Usually you always feel contact when you hit something. But I was pretty sure because my ball was here and it's over here. I was pretty sure I saw something go like that.
Again, it's windy. We're down there. I'm not sure. The adrenaline's pumping. I just said to Slugger I know TV's around. Let's go check it. So we checked it, and indeed I just brushed it and it did do that. So what I saw was right.
It was nice that I could have a clear conscious knowing that we checked it and it's what it is. And he just said it's a two-shot penalty, and I said that's fine and we move on, you know.
MARK WILLIAMS: When Charles Howell was in here yesterday, one of his comments was even with high-speed slow-motion replay cameras, he said he can't believe you even felt that.
BRIAN DAVIS: Again, I didn't feel it. I just saw something. Maybe I should be watching the ball more. But you know, I thought I saw something. I might not have seen anything. It might have been just the wind blowing and the moment and everything else going on, it might be just that. I'm just glad we checked and it did come back.
Because if I had gone to a hole and missed or gone to another hole, something would have happened, it would have been awful if it had been spotted. So I was glad that it happened the way it did. You know, obviously, it's just one of those things and you move on.
For me, personally, with what's happened and the way people have received it, it's probably given me a bigger boost than winning, to be honest. It really has, you know, not only for he me, but for everyone concerned with the Tour. It just really evokes what the Tour's all about.
MARK WILLIAMS: Getting back to the Zurich Classic. Last year you shot four sub-par rounds here. What is your opinion of the golf course, and does it set up well for your game?
BRIAN DAVIS: It's quite a long golf course. I'm not one of the longest in the world. But you've got to hit a good round here. There is no getting away with it. You have to strike the ball all the way around.
I think the biggest factor around here is the wind. If the wind lays down, you can shoot in the low rounds here. If the wind gets up, it gets brutal. I think the forecast is maybe windy Friday or Saturday. It could make it tough for some of the guys, depending on which side of the draw you're on. So I hope you're on the right end of the draw and get a little healed start and be here for the weekend.

Q. You talked about pranksters out on the course. What kind of reception have you had from guys?
BRIAN DAVIS: Obviously, a lot of my friends back in the UK have sent text messages making fun of me. It's all in good spirit. But as we came across the putting green, Johnson Wagner was standing there. He said", At least you hit a nice putt on 18, because the one on 17 was pathetic." But you know, they know I'm like, so they can have a bit of banter with me.

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